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by Gary McVeigh

This was my seventh show of the Vertigo tour, the previous six having been at various stadiums in Europe. It was also my first concert in the US so I had high expectations. Everyone tells me that U2 are always at their best in Dublin, Amsterdam and New York. I managed two in Amsterdam and both shows were exceptonal but didn't manage Dublin.
I had paid a crazy amount for tickets, flights and hotel and had been on the go for nearly 24 hours before the show started.
My first reaction was that Keane weren't well known and so quite a few in the section I was in just talked loudly or called friends on their cell phones. I'm pleased to say Keane won over a large section of the sparcley filled hall by the time they finished their excellent set.
The place was packed and went hyper for U2's entrance. Despite being on the 4th level second row our view was constantly being blocked by people seemingly trying to attract Bono's attention! U2 were, as ever, excellent. Live, there isn't a band on this planet to touch them but it did seem that they watered down the political content of the show for the American audience. Surely this was the venue to give Bush and his war mongering politics a bloody nose and make the case for world debt relief in the back garden of the world's richest country. But no. Instead Bono dedicated a song to the brave servicemen and women of America. A worthy dedication but rather than leave it at that he could have protested about American and British lives being lost for no real cause in Iraq. Then to say that Sunday Bloody Sunday now belonged to New York as Ireland is resolved left me feeling uneasy. There is a world wide fight against terrorism as was shown by the bombs in London in July. The threat to the NY subway that weekend is something we have to endure every day in the UK. Then to ask for 'old glory' to be on the stage rather than the Irish flag made me feel he was just pandering to the audience to get easy applause.
It was obvious that not all the audience owned HTDAAB as quite a few in our area sat and talked, again very loudly (is this just a New York thing), during songs they didn't recognise. They also went in and out to buy beer all during the show. I wouldn't want to miss a minute after all the effort of getting there but maybe thats just me. The show set list was different, which is a good thing. It was great to hear Fast Cars and Crumbs but why drop the Achtung Baby section. It's impossible for U2 to please everyone with their song choice but I really wanted to hear Bad and 40. Another point is I wish I had brought my camera but I heeded the no camera rule and every other second person seemed to have a camera at the show.
Overall a great show and experience. Not as good Amsterdam or Rome but better than others. I just wish I'd had a ticket for the next night too.

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